Home » Employees want to learn. The question is––what?

Employees want to learn. The question is––what?

by Tia

Career growth and development are the most important things employees want from their employers. They also want to work in roles challenging their strengths and competencies for organisations that provide opportunities to grow their knowledge and skills. “There’s a lot of evidence proving that employees that don’t apply their knowledge, skills, and strengths in the workplace are unfulfilled and tend to leave their jobs 12 times faster,” said Michael Gullan, CEO of an eLearning consultancy that assists corporates with enhancing employee performance via high-impact online learning.

Learning and development are imperative for a happy, engaged, high-performance workforce. However, how do you balance what the business needs and what employees want to learn?

“Employees learning interests vary widely depending on their roles, goals, interests, and career paths. However, we have noticed some common themes from conducting learning needs assessments and plans in various industries,” added Gullan.

Employee learning interests  
Most interest Least interestSoft Skills: Communication, leadership, time management, and problem-solving are highly valued by employees. Many seek opportunities to improve their soft skills to enhance their effectiveness.   Customer service skills: Crucial for customer-facing employees to improve their ability to interact with customers and handle challenging situations.   Technical skills: In today’s rapidly evolving work environment, employees want to acquire or enhance their technical skills. This includes learning programming languages, data analysis tools, graphic design software, or other job-specific software and tools.   Industry-specific knowledge: Employees want to stay updated on industry trends, regulations, and best practices to stay competitive and to put them in line for potential promotions.   Career advancement skills: Skills that advance careers, such as networking, negotiation skills, project management, and strategic thinking are high on the learning lists for many individuals.   Digital literacy: Most employees want to remain current with technology, such as new software, online platforms, or adapting to remote work technologies, such as time management, effective virtual communication, and cybersecurity.   Financial literacy: Many employees want to upskill on financial planning not only in the context of organisations, but also personal finance and financial planning. They may want to learn about budgeting, investing, and retirement planning.   Wellness and work-life balance: Employees want the skills to manage their stress so they can perform better at life and work.    Creativity and innovation: Many employees want to enhance their creative thinking and problem-solving abilities so they can take on new and stimulating projects.   Health and safety: Workplace health and safety knowledge is crucial for employee well-being. Understanding safety protocols and practices is a priority for many.   Diversity, equity, and inclusion: Inclusive workplaces are essential, and employees want to understand the subtleties of diversity, equity, and inclusion to contribute to an inclusive and respectful work environment.   Ethical and sustainability practices: With growing awareness of ethical and environmental issues, employees want to understand ethical business practices and sustainability initiatives within their organisations and industry.   Languages: Learning a new language or improving existing skills is of interest to employees working in international or multicultural environments.  

“Most employees want to learn and develop their skills and be recognised for their learning efforts. Employees will work harder on their self-development when they’re rewarded with certificates, badges, or in-person acknowledgments,” concluded Gullan.

Employee’s learning needs and goals vary widely from organisation and industry. To ensure you get a return on investment (via increased employee performance) and a return on emotion (via a positive culture and happy workforce), an L&D assessment, strategy, and plan should result in a programme that is win, win for employees and the organisation.

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